The first North American competition of 2020 of the slowest race on earth took place this past Wednesday March 11th at the Burn Cigar Lounge in Naples, Florida.

The participants are all given the same cigar, the new Rocky Patel CSWC Mareva, that they themselves pick from the box, a cigar cutter and two matches.  Each participant is given one minute to light their cigar, and then they must keep the cigar going as long as possible.

The atmosphere is alive!  The lounge which always has a great crowd has even a heightened level of anticipation tonight. Many contestants are here from all over the United States to compete in their first qualifier.  Naples is home to so many “snowbirds” in March who are escaping the cold up North, so a very well represented crowd is here from all parts of the red white and blue.  A couple of Canadians were there as well representing the Great White North.

A local boy made Naples proud by coming in 1st place.  Jose Fuego lasted the longest with a time of 107:32 minutes.  Joanne DiMarco from Glenfalls, NY came in 2nd with a time of 107:27 minutes.  And local Frank Potoczak came in 3rd with a time of 95:48 minutes.  A beautiful Cuervo y Sobrinos time piece with a humidor was awarded to the winner.  A Rocky Patel signature humidor filled with Rocky Patel cigars and rocks glasses.  Third place was awarded a Les Fines Lames cigar knife cutter from France.

Onward to San Antonio, Texas for the next leg of the tournament.  There will be 13 more in the United States before the North American final in Pittsburgh.

Bruce's love for the leaf quickly became his passion after visiting cigar factories and tobacco fields in Honduras. After participating in the blending and selection processes for many cigar blends over the last 10 years, Bruce became a proofreader for Cigar Journal and has been for the past 3 years. He received his Master's in Foreign Language Education from the University of South Florida and has been teaching German and Spanish for over 15 years. Besides his passion for cigars, Bruce's interests include traveling the world and coaching soccer. He lives in Florida with his wife and 2 children.


    Related posts



    Get the latest cigar news monthly.

    Enter your email and join the global Cigar Journal family.


    Looks like you are using an ad-blocking browser extension. We request you to whitelist our website on the ad-blocking extension and refresh your browser to view the content.